Stigma Has Rendered Period Sex Gross. But It’s Actually Good For You.
If I had a rupee for every time somebody with whom I was about to be sexually intimate made a face, took a rain check, or asked if they would catch an infection, after I told them I was on my period, I’d be stinking rich. It baffles me that somebody so eager to exchange bodily fluids with me can suddenly be so put off by the prospect of some harmless blood. Sex is a sweaty, odorous process — what’s one more liquid thrown in the mix?
It feels logically redundant to state, but let’s make this clear: Period blood doesn’t cause an infection. While using protection is advised for all sexual encounters to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases — regardless of whether a woman is on her period or not — period blood by itself does not cause any infections, unless the woman has HIV or hepatitis, i.e. viruses that can be transmitted through blood (as well as other bodily fluids). It’s time we do away with prejudiced notions of filth associated with period blood. While messy and possibly gross to blood-averse people, there is nothing inherently icky about it.
The stigma can be traced back to centuries of myths surrounding period blood, which have painted the entire process as impure, dirty and in some communities, evil. A lack of proper sex education in schools also helps maintain misconceptions surrounding period blood and its alleged gross-ness. The othering of menstruation as a woman’s ‘problem’ has ultimately resulted in women being shamed for a completely natural, biological process that they should be revered for, instead they are left feeling the need to apologize for menstruating while wanting to act on sexual urges.
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On the contrary, having sex during menstruation can be immensely beneficial to the woman. Having an orgasm releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin and dopamine that help ease pain, for example, from menstrual cramps. Orgasms also contract the uterus, which could result in faster flowing of the menstrual blood accumulated in the organ, thus shortening the span of a period, according to an interview given by Dr. Dee Fenner, M.D., director of gynecology in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, U.S., and published by Metro UK. Women also report feeling more horny during their periods, so engaging in period sex will be doing her a solid — and there will be no need for lube.
Moreover, scientists in the Netherlands conducted a study to determine how averse women were to period sex, TIME reported. They found that sexual arousal curbs the body’s natural disgust response in women. So, even if you’re conditioned to find period blood gross — which, to be honest, most of us are — all it takes is enough tentative engagement in sexual activities to overcome any disgust arising from being in contact with it.